Keeping the kids occupied while you’re deep into Christmas craziness is a challenge. Throwing in a playdate with friends doubles the fun. I used to think the kids would keep themselves happily entertained, each with one friend over. However, I learned long ago that you need to plan more activities than you’d expect for these occasions. You would hate to think the kids go home and tell their parents that “all she did was work on the computer” or that they were bored the whole time.
To plan our first winter break playdate we asked, what’s more entertaining for kids in the kitchen than jello? You know the jello jingle about watching it wiggle and seeing it jiggle. Our version is the Knox Blox. It’s like a mini science experiment to make these tried and true kid-pleasing treats.
Step one: choose your flavor (there are 20!) and color. For us it had to be cherry red and lime green for Christmas. Buy 3 3 oz packages of jello (don’t use the sugar free), one box of knox gelatin (each box has 4 envelopes) and 1 cup of heavy whipping cream for each color you plan to make. We had 2 teams – the boys were the reddies (cherry knox blox) and the girls were the greenies (lime knox blox). This meant that all 4 kids happily took turns making them.
Step two: Mix the 3 packages of jello and knox together. Boil 3 cups of water and add it to the mix. Stir until all the gelatin dissolves. The kids love seeing the dull dry mix go bright with color when water is added.
Step three: Add the 1 cup of cream and continue to stir.
Step four: Pour the mix into a 9 x 12 pan. Place in the fridge for 1.5 hours. If you’re a kid, keep opening the refrigerator door every 5 minutes or so during this phase to check the wiggle factor. It needs to be set before cutting.
Step five: By the end of the playdate, the blox are set. The 2 teams take theirs out and hover over them waiting to pounce as a cut them. We also have some small cookie cutters we’ve used in the past, but today we’re just going for squares due to timing. We cut and arrange them on a fancy plate for them to bring out for Christmas Eve as their contribution and send some home with their friends to share the fun.
Step six: fold and eat. Scientifically, these blox are fascinating to kids. Since they’ve separated while chilling – the cream rises to the top creating a blox that is equally divided into 2 parts of creamy jello and pure jello. Even more interesting is what happens when you fold them. They resist at first, but then form a neat even line in the center of the blox when folded.
I’ve witnessed holiday jello gone wrong with fruits, vegetables, nuts and even olives in the mix. Knox Blox are jello at its best in my opinion. I’ve been making them with my mom since nursery school and have yet to tire of them or find the recipe by this name on the official JELL-O web site. Try them out with your kids and remember its cool and fruity JELL-O brand gelatin that makes the fun.